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Sunrise into day

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Things look different here (you might need to refresh your browser). After 6 years, it was time.

I loved that photo, the one taken in a Kansas field, sun-drenched and vibrant and glamorous – because who wears heels in a meadow? That girl was a great girl, bold and impulsive. She had so many wonderful things ahead, things that she couldn’t have dreamed even if she tried. She was running full speed into the unknown, and the latter half of her 20s was sensational, to say the least.

She was happy, and she didn’t know it.

But then again, her life was censored. She didn’t know that, either.

The field was eventually plowed over, and townhomes went in. That flowered chair ripped apart, and so did her family. Her free spirit was trampled into the dirt. Her skinny thighs got a little bigger, while her confidence got a little smaller. And one night, the left stiletto on those red high heels snapped right off.

Uncensored reality can be ugly. If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that the last several years have been dark for me. You’ve tracked along with what I now know to have been seasons of crippling depression and despair. And when the struggle got to be too much, I just went on auto-pilot, choosing monotone over minor chords through a variety of anesthetics.

But Brené Brown says, “We cannot selectively numb emotions.” She’s right: when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb joy, love, and compassion. And what kind of a life is that?

So I’ve taken that idea to heart, and have spent the past year plowing forward into the darkness – which, by the way, has been about as fun as venturing into my spider-infested cellar with nothing but a Zippo. But at least I’m seeing things for what they really are, or at least closer to the way that they really are. These days, the veil is lifted, for worse and for better – and there is a “better.”

So it’s time for this space to be fresh.

Life is quiet these days, and largely uncomplicated. It’s also lonely, although that’s probably mostly by choice. If I told you the last time I went on a date, you would cringe. I have more questions than answers, and the things that are unresolved – the broken relationships, the questions of purpose, the nagging insecurities – peck at me from time to time.

But somehow, there’s an element of contentment. I am rooted – not necessarily geographically, but in who I am and what I’m willing (and not willing) to wait for. I can’t say exactly when it happened, but I feel a simple confidence that just like there are good things behind, there are good things ahead.

The light is soft, the colors gentle, and the good hair days abound.

Thanks for being here through the slow, slow changes. Here’s to more light and laughter in the midst of the quiet unknown.

Change comes slow,
And sometimes you don’t notice
The twilight into darkness,
The sunrise into day
-Jill Phillips, “If You Were Here”

Top 10 reasons I haven’t been blogging

Monday, June 10th, 2013

10) TECHNOLOGY
I don’t own a computer – not one that works, anyway. My Macbook is from the year Two Thousand and Six, back when dinosaurs roamed the Internet. It barely turns on. Work has provided me with the privilege (?) of a PC laptop that blows hot air like [insert politician of choice], and when it’s 95 degrees outside and the house I just bought doesn’t have air conditioning, said laptop is the last thing I want to cozy up with. Besides, the wi-fi that I share with two (count ‘em) neighbors is spotty at best. Plus – PLUS – my digital camera is broken, so I can’t even make you a video of the Shotgun. All of these things make me want to pull out my newly dyed hair – which, sidenote, has now grown out to the awkward in-between phase. Great.

9) JUICING
I saw “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead,” okay? And yes, now I’m doing the trendy thing and spending ungodly amounts of money on produce just to distill it into vegetable sewage. The process of juicing is time consuming and the cleanup is a beast, but I’m hoping that switching out a meal or two a day will help me feel like my old self, back when a mere breakup was the hardest thing I’d experienced, before the years of hard living got me down. (But seriously, if anyone knows a fruit/veggie combination that won’t leave me tasting liquid spinach with a celery splash, please let me know.)

8) HOMEOWNERSHIP
Last Friday, I came home from work with big plans of reading a book, relaxing, maybe drinking an end-of-week cocktail. What did I do instead? I set up my newly purchased ladder and, rake in one hand, iPhone in my teeth, climbed onto the roof. I spent nearly an hour filling three turbo-sized garbage bags with leaves, sticks, twigs, dirt, and the remains of a few unfortunate critters. When I’m not spending time on my roof, I’m taking things to the cellar (we can’t even call this hole a basement – the entrance is a HATCH in the backyard). And when I’m not taking things to the cellar, I’m painting my bathroom or running loads of laundry or paying bills or trying to decide if buying a house was a good decision (it was).

7) CROSSFIT
Let’s not lie, I’ve only gone three times. I’m supposed to be there right now. Whoops.

6) NIGHTMARES
Maybe it’s the aloneness. Maybe it’s the book I’m reading. Maybe it’s watching Toad get more fragile. Maybe it’s reading about deaths on the mountains I’m planning on climbing this summer. Maybe it’s just turning on the news, hearing about massacres and beheadings and building collapses and freak accidents. Whatever it is, I’m not sleeping through the night these days.

5) MUSIC
But don’t go feeling sorry for me – I’ve had some great music to keep my toes tapping and my heart humming. Hunter Hayes’ “I Want Crazy” makes me happier than everything. The Band Perry’s sophomore album “Pioneer” is solid – they’ve won me over, despite their hair. One of my favorite writers, Gretchen Peters, came to Swallow Hill a few weeks ago, and I took my mom; sharing the music I love with the people I love is one of my favorite things. I saw David Ramirez at the Soiled Dove last week, and his new EP “The Rooster” is songwriting at its best.

Also, joining a group guitar class 16 weeks ago was the greatest, most life-giving decision. I love the new friends I’m getting to know, and it’s good to have a reason to practice.

4) DATING
Sike. Haha, sucker.

3) SOCIAL MEDIA
If being online wasn’t such a big part of my job, I’d scrap it all. Social media is a major source of envy for me, since it’s easy to read other people’s happy posts and assume that everyone’s life is perfect except mine. We’re bombarded with a steady stream of highlights and never the low points – which makes sense. I don’t particularly want to share my Ugly Cry face, or the moment in which I say the very most hurtful thing – why would anyone else? So we continue to revise our wording, and crop our photos so no one sees the mess, and pretend that everything’s okay when it most decidedly is not.

2) DREAMING
Someday, I’m going to hike the Colorado Trail, record another album, live out of my car, write a book, fly first class, spend quality time with my nephews, hold every one of my friends’ babies, sit still, speak the truth, drive all the way to Alaska, cook a turkey, take an art class, stop guarding my heart and start using it, do something drastic, trust, read so many books, finish climbing the 14ers, stay at a bed & breakfast, and sing to old people in a nursing home.

1) NO GOOD REASON
I miss you. Maybe that sounds weird, since to you I might just be words on a screen – but you (yeah, you) are more than that to me. You are an important part of my community and my life. My posts may be sporadic these days; I suppose that’s the season I’m in. But I skipped doing anything “important” tonight just to write, because that’s what felt important and significant and as necessary as breathing. This space matters to me, and you matter to me, and it feels good just to say hi.

RIP, Google Reader

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

If you’re like me, you’ve relied on Google Reader to aggregate all of the blogs you follow into one long list. With the recent (horrible) news that Google Reader is going away, I’m switching over to Bloglovin. Maybe you’ll want to do the same.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, forget you ever read this.

Guest post: Softening

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

I was 24-years old when he finally broke my heart. Generous with his words, he had always promised that he loved me – but his actions and attitudes belied those words, cracking me little by little until the terminating blow, a sledgehammer to an already rapidly crumbling innocence.

In the days and weeks that followed, I gasped for air. The grief of heartbreak is nothing short of an anvil on the chest, a weight that steals breath and paralyzes. The future I had imagined was no more, and while the world continued to spin, mine was over…

: : : : :

I’m guest posting over on Seed & Water today.

This is my first guest post ever! Anywhere!

I’d love it if you would join me there – and then take a look around, since this blog is one of my favorite internet places. Everything is lovely and charming and true, as Holly & Meagan are lovely and charming and true. Thank you, ladies, for hosting me today.

What to do with this blog

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

I have a confession: I don’t quite know what to do with this blog.

The posting has been light, at best, in 2012.  I’ve thought about scrapping the whole thing, taking the site down, going off-the-grid in the virtual world.  I’ve thought about forcing myself to post more often, rehashing the meaningless minutia of each day.  I’ve thought about doing a series, dedicating each day of the week to highlighting all 5 members of various boy bands.

Instead, most days, the site just sits here.

I have so many amazing friends who are doing a great job of keeping up their writing, featuring vignettes from their lives, sharing what’s on their heart and mind.  I used to do these things, I think.  But these days, when I sit down to write anything – a blog, an email, a journal entry – it just feels flat.  It feels forced.  It doesn’t make me happy – which is alarming, since historically, writing has made me happier than just about anything else.

It’s been a long time since my heart has felt full to the point where I feel like I have something to share.

I keep trying to rally, but the truth is, I feel too tired.  I miss my friends – I really do. I miss having a sense of belonging.  The future feels big and overwhelming. I wish my family was intact.  I wish I wasn’t broken.

I know, I know – this is the point where I’m supposed to stop and say how lucky I am, how many things I have going for me, how there are good things about my life and situation (because there really are, and I know it).

But just now, as I was writing this, the tears came – and damn it, but I’d rather cry than say nothing at all.

Welcome to No Blog November

Monday, November 1st, 2010

I’m going to take a little bloggy break for the month.

I’ll be back in December, and I hope you will be, too.  Just think: an entire month’s worth of stories, ready to explode onto your screen on December 1.

What can you expect to hear about from November?  Another REI class (not about rattlesnake sex), my nephew Micah’s 7th birthday, lots of running (I’m back up to 7.2 miles), a Parsonspalooza Thanksgiving, whipping my finances into shape, a cross-country winter road trip in the 20-year old Honda, some new songs, and surely, a plethora of things I have no way of predicting.

See you next month.  I’ll miss you.

Skip

Friday, August 6th, 2010

In junior high youth group, we would occasionally sit in an awkward circle where each person was supposed to take a turn praying out loud.  When it was your turn, if you didn’t want to pray, you would squeeze the hand of the person sitting next to you.

Skip, please.

Well, that’s what Friday just did to me.  Skip, please.

No (Bosom) Friend Friday today.  Instead, I’m getting out to enjoy my weekend.  Christina is flying in from Boston, and my nephews are in town, and I’m taking the day off of work to take full advantage of both of these things.

Check in next week for an update on my dental status, a report from a sushi-making class in Portland (where I’ll be for work), and most definitely, the highlighting of a (bosom) friend.  Until then, I hope that you can step away from your computer, and really live.

(Bosom?) Friend Fridays

Friday, June 25th, 2010

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a blog series.

In fact, I think the last series I did was A-Z.  Who’s been reading since the A-Z days?  Anyone?

Awwww.  Bless your hearts.  Both of you.

I want to do another series – mostly because choosing a theme keeps me focused, and narrows down a topic.  These days, my blog concentration is similar to that dog in “Up.”  There I am, waxing poetic about life, purpose, faith, dreams, emotions, culture, pain, SQUIRREL.

I am happy to announce that for the indefinite future, Fridays will henceforth be known as Friend Fridays – or maybe Bosom Friend Fridays, mostly because I want to boost my awkward keyword searches.  In any case, I am of the opinion that I know some of the coolest people in the world, and if my piffling little blog can be of any good at all, it would be to draw attention to some of these incredible folks.

So friends of mine, get ready to be made famous – or at least, in this little corner of the internet sky, LOCALLY famous (being a local celebrity is so much more awesome than being a real one).  It will happen when you least expect it.

This is going to be the best thing since “The Baby-Sitters Club” Super Specials.

Are you there, blog? It’s me, Annie.

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Don’t worry, I’m still here.

Not only am I HERE, but I am not depressed, despondent, or dead, either.  On the contrary, I am very much alive!  Thanks for being concerned, though, ye who have reached out.  I guess I’m just taking my time living life these days.

I have a new favorite song: “See You in the Spring” by the Court Yard Hounds and Jakob Dylan.  The subdued verses bloom into one of the most satisfying choruses I’ve ever heard.

You know how today is May 13th?  That makes yesterday May 12th.  And that makes it all the more astounding that yesterday it SNOWED.  It snowed here in Denver.  In mid-May.  It was actually one of the coldest days since I moved here – or maybe it just felt like it because I was outside at the Rockies game.  In the wintertime.

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But here we were – bundled up.  Those are my lovely co-workers, Leigh and Gina.  And that is me in Gina’s boys’ x-large snowboarding jacket.  The Rockies won in the bottom of the 10th with a home run.  By that time, we couldn’t move our faces.

“Lost” is almost over – over forever.  Since I don’t own a TV, most Tuesday nights I go to the gym in hopes of one of the sets being tuned to ABC, fully prepared to elliptical my ass off (literally, hopefully) for the entire 60 minutes.  Usually, though, 24 Hour Fitness does not have ABC on – and I’m way too terrified to change the channel in front of all of the scary men glued to SportsCenter.  So I wind up watching “Lost” online later.

If you haven’t watched the episode from Tuesday night, don’t worry – no spoilers here.  Except, I will say one thing: Allison Janney is one crazy mofo.  I LOVE HER.  Such a freak.

Last night, a guy asked me if I would refer to a certain movie as a “romantic comedy.”  I informed him that we well-seasoned ladies call them “RoCos,” thank you very much.

The other night, I was lying in bed when I saw a SPIDER crawl out from under the sheets.  I quickly killed it – but I didn’t scream.  I just went on reading.  And I slept in the bed.  This, I believe, is what we call “progress.”

Some people pay off their student loans.  I buy plane tickets to people’s weddings.  I can’t help it, though – I love these friends.

You know who else I love?  My family.  And tomorrow, I will slide behind the wheel of the 20-year old Honda to drive to Kansas City once again to be with them.  Nine hours there on Friday, and nine hours back on Sunday – a straight-shot on I-70.  Remind me to renew my AAA before 5am tomorrow morning.

Tour of Homes: Annie Edition

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

You thought that I was your favorite Annie.

Well, my little sweeties, prepare to forsake me for another.

I have this friend Annie Downs.  You probably already read her blog – but if you don’t, you should start.  Because people, this girl has got it going on.

Annie and I decided to swap videos, giving each other tours of our new homes.  After I moved to Denver, she moved across town in Nashville – and not knowing where she is?  Has been killing me a little bit.

But it doesn’t have to kill you!  Here she is, giving you a tour of her new place.

If you’re curious to see where I’ve been hanging my hat (proverbial hat, that is – I don’t actually own a hat), head over to AnnieBlogs.com to see my happy little home.

And… what’s that?  You can’t get enough of the Annies?  Don’t worry – we’re archived.